News Release

Locke Lord's Carolyn Blessing, Ashlee Knuckey and Mike Wilson Recognized as 2021 Notable Rising Stars in Law by Crain's Chicago Business

September 9, 2021

(CHICAGO) September 9, 2021Chicago Partners Carolyn Blessing, Ashlee Knuckey and Mike Wilson have been named by Crain’s Chicago Business as 2021 Notable Rising Stars in Law, recognizing their demonstrated impact at Locke Lord and in the community in under five years of Partnership.

Blessing serves as the Firm’s Chicago office Hiring Partner and is Past President of the Chicago Chapter of the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law, currently serving as the Secretary/Treasurer of the organization’s National Board. She also Co-Chairs the Chicago Women in IP Mentoring Circles Committee and is a Visionary Member of Step Up, an organization that propels girls in under-resourced communities to fulfill their potential. Previously, Blessing served as Secretary of the Richard Linn American Inn of Court and Chair of St. Procopius Legal Clinic. A dedicated supporter of the arts, she also Co-Chairs the Joffrey Ballet’s Generation J Leadership Council and serves as Board Vice President of 137 Films.

A member of Locke Lord’s IP Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Practice Group, Blessing is deeply experienced in Hatch-Waxman litigation. She represents pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in all aspects of federal intellectual property litigation, including pre-litigation activities, Paragraph IV Certifications, filing, fact and expert discovery, claim construction, motion practice, pre-trial, trial, post-trial and appellate phases. Most recently, she had significant roles in two fully virtual federal trials.

Knuckey is a member of Locke Lord’s Board of Directors and a member of the Attorney Development and Practice Development/Marketing Committees. She acts as a mentor to Firm Associates in navigating the path to Partnership and in regulatory and litigation matters. Knuckey participates in The Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law, the American Bar Association Health Law Section and The Executives’ Club of Chicago. She was also a long-standing member of the Women’s Auxiliary Board for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland.

Knuckey maintains a cross-functional practice handling litigation and regulatory matters, primarily in the health care, insurance and food industries. She regularly handles matters with federal and state regulators across the country, often focusing on government-sponsored programs, including Medicaid and Medicare. She has led or been a key contributor to the teams acting as national insurance and health care regulatory counsel in several recent major health insurance transactions, helping Locke Lord’s clients obtain required regulatory approvals from state and federal regulators. A large percentage of Knuckey's cases have involved insurance and health care disputes, focused on complex operational and regulatory matters. Knuckey is also Chair of the Firm’s Food, Beverage and Cosmetics Industry Group.

Wilson is a leader in the Firm’s Private Equity Practice Group, working closely with members of the private equity team to advance Locke Lord’s thought leadership and marketing initiatives and serving as a mentor to corporate Associates to guide them through substantive issues and professional development. He has led Locke Lord’s Paycheck Protection Program team, providing critical advice and counsel to hundreds of clients amid COVID-19. He has held numerous leadership roles in The Executives’ Club of Chicago, currently serving as Second Vice Chair of its Leadership Circle Advisory Board, a member of the Board’s Nominating Committee and a mentor for participants in the EC Associates Program, which provides emerging leaders with a peer network and opportunities to develop their leadership acumen. He also represents the Firm in its memberships with the Small Business Investor Alliance (SBIA) and the Illinois Venture Capital Association (IVCA). Wilson is an active member of the Illinois and Chicago Bar Associations.

Wilson is a member of the Firm’s Corporate and Transactional Practice Group and focuses on mergers and acquisitions, debt finance transactions, venture capital transactions and general corporate matters for private equity funds, startups, banks, insurance companies and other public and private businesses. He has significant private equity experience, including with small business investment companies (SBICs), representing funds and limited partners in portfolio investments, limited partner investments, fund formation and SBIC licensing. He has led many high-profile private equity and middle-market transaction teams.


About Locke Lord LLP
Locke Lord is a full-service law firm with global reach and 20 offices designed to meet clients’ needs in the United States and around the world. The Firm has a history that spans more than 130 years and is a leader in the middle market arena. Locke Lord focuses on providing the highest levels of commitment, quality and service to clients across its five Key Sectors: Energy and Infrastructure; Finance and Financial Services; Insurance and Reinsurance; Pharmaceutical; and Private Equity. In addition, the Firm advises clients across a broad spectrum of other industries, including fund formation, venture capital, health care, public finance, real estate, technology, cybersecurity and white collar, while providing a wealth of experience through its complex litigation, intellectual property, tax, regulatory and transactional teams.